27 June 2008


This is the new and improved post...a few more pictures and all bigger. Otherwise just the same. I'll delete the old one after publishing this one!

I have nothing to say about all this that would be legal for me to publish. So let this just speak for itself. All the pictures were are from the facebook photo album of Amneet Bali of the Sikh Activist Network, used with his permission. The video is picked up from YouTube, of course. Follow the link under the video to see more videos.

(Note: If anyone would like to reproduce this post, just contact me at Simayanan@gmail.com and I'll be happy to e-mail you the html.) Please, everyone needs to see these pictures and know what is happening. Our silence is death and destruction for our sisters and brothers!


The Indian Government has taken no serious action against the dera cult leader. Even after a innocent Sikh protester was shot dead. Seeing this the Local Sikhs decided to protest and get there voices heard, so they decided to block some transport roads. However instead of listening to their outcry they were the victims of police brutality!


Sikh man killed in firing by Dera Bodyguard
Mumbai, June 20: A 50-year-old Sikh was today killed in firing by the bodyguard of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim Singh, who earned the wrath of Sikh clergy, outside a suburban mall during a protest against the spiritual guru by a Sikh group, which turned violent, the police said.

A group of Sikhs shouted anti-Dera slogans inside the Nirmal Lifestyles mall in suburban Mulund during a visit by Dera chief to the place this evening, a senior police officer said.

The protest by Sikhs led to altercations between Dera chief 's supporters and the Sikh group, which turned violent after the group allegedly started pelting stones, he said.

The Dera chief left the mall immediately at around 6.45 pm for a programme scheduled later in the evening.

"While the motorcade was passing for the programme, some Sikh protesters attempted to block the way and charged towards the vehicles when a private bodyguard is suspected to have opened fire," the officer said.

One person suffered grievous injuries in the firing and was taken to a nearby hospital where he succumbed. The deceased was identified as Balkar Singh Thakur Singh (50), he said.

Dera chief's aide admits opening fire on mob
Mumbai: A bodyguard of Dera Sachcha chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had admitted that he had fired a round from his pistol at a crowd here on Friday, a senior police official said on Saturday.

A Sikh was killed and two others injured in the firing.

The official said the bodyguard, Jaidev Singh, Satnam Aroda and Rajguru Taneja had confessed to having opened fire from his licensed Mauser pistol. They have been charged with murder as well as offences under Arms Act.

All of them belong to Ram Rahim Singh's staff.
Jaidev is one of the three bodyguards arrested in this connection. Eleven more, who were with the Dera chief at the time of the incident, had been detained and would be arrested soon, police said, adding they would be booked for rioting and assaulting.
Location: Mumbai
In this album: look at this man, what a disgrace to India

Dera Sacha Sauda Guards open fire on Sikhs in Mumbai - Video


26 June 2008

1500 Arrests Made...Sikh Activists Forced To Go Underground

1500 Arrests Made...Sikh Activists Forced To Go UndergroundShare

1500 Sikhs arrested and many go underground
On hearing about the protest program by Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and other Jathebandies, Badal govt has begun arresting them. 1500 Sikhs have been arrested and taken to unkown locations.

Raids have been conducted in various places by the police to stop the protests. Many Sikhs had gone underground before the police began conducting raids so that they could go on with the protest programs. Police conducted raid on the house of Akali Dal Amritsar general secretary, Prof Mohinderpal Singh, but was unable to nab him. Another raid was conducted on the house of Harbhanjan Singh Kashmiri but was also unable to arrest him. Talking to Jag Bani news on the phone Prof Mohinderpal Singh said that the police was out looking for workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar). He went on to say that Akali Dal Amritsar worker, Charan Singh was arrested by the police and taken to a unkown location.

The police also carried out a raid on an executive member of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) by the name of Gurnam Singh. The police was unable to capture Gurnam Singh so instead they took his old aged father Bali Singh. Prof Mohinderpal also told of how a dera sacha sauda followers store was ransacked and a false case in regards to that was put on Bagicha Singh who is the general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Youth Wing. Today the police produced Bagicha Singh in the Patiala court and sent him to jail. Prof Mohinderpal Singh said that the protest progam announced by the party head would be carried out under any circumstances and all of badals actions would be given a befitting reply.

ਰੇਲ ਰੋਕੋ ਪ੍ਰੋਗਰਾਮ ਨੂੰ ਦੇਖ ਮਾਨ ਦਲੀਆਂ ਦੀ ਫ਼ੜੋ-ਫ਼ੜੀ ਜਾਰੀ

1500 ਗਰਮ ਖਿਆਲੀ ਗ੍ਰਿਫਤਾਰ ਕੀਤੇ , ਕਈ ਆਗੂ ਹੋਏ ਅੰਡਰ-ਗਰਾਊਂਡ

ਪਟਿਆਲਾ 24 ਜੂਨ (ਮਨਜਿੰਦਰ)ਡੇਰਾ ਸੱਚਾ ਸੌਦਾ ਦੇ ਸੁਰੱਖਿਆ ਗਾਰਡਾਂ ਵਲੋਂ ਮੁਲੰਡ ਸ਼ਹਿਰ ਵਿੱਚ ਸਿੱਖ ਵਿਖਾਵਾਕਾਰੀਆਂ 'ਤੇ ਕੀਤੀ ਗਈ ਗੋਲਾਬਾਰੀ ਦੇ ਵਿਰੋਧ ਵਿੱਚ ਸੋ਼੍ਰਮਣੀ ਅਕਾਲੀ ਦਲ ਮਾਨ ਅਤੇ ਹੋਰ ਸਿੱਖ ਜਥੇਬੰਦੀਆਂ ਵਲੋਂ ਐਲਾਨੇ ਗਏ ਰੇਲ ਰੋਕੂ ਪ੍ਰੋਗਰਾਮ ਨੂੰ ਠੁੱਸ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਬਾਦਲ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਪੱਬਾਂ ਭਾਰ ਹੋ ਗਈ ਹੈ। ਬਾਦਲ ਦੇ ਇਸ਼ਾਰੇ 'ਤੇ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਪੁਲਸ ਨੇ ਸ਼੍ਰੋਮਣੀ ਅਕਾਲੀ ਦਲ ਮਾਨ ਅਤੇ ਹੋਰ ਗਰਮ-ਖਿਆਲੀ ਜਥੇਬੰਦੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਵਰਕਰਾਂ ਅਤੇ ਆਗੂਆਂ ਦੀ ਫੜੋ ਫੜੀ ਤੇਜ਼ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤੀ ਹੈ। ਪੁਲਸ ਸੂਤਰਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਮਿਲੀ ਜਾਣਕਾਰੀ ਅਨੁਸਾਰ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਭਰ ਵਿੱਚੋਂ ਲਗਭਗ ਡੇਢ ਹਜ਼ਾਰ ਗਰਮ-ਖਿਆਲੀਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਚੁੱਕ ਕੇ ਅਣਪਛਾਤੀ ਥਾਂ ਤੇ ਡੱਕ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਹੈ।

ਵੱਖ ਵੱਖ ਜਥੇਬੰਦੀਆਂ ਦੇ 25 ਜੂਨ ਰੇਲ ਰੋਕੋ ਪ੍ਰੋਗਰਾਮ ਨੂੰ ਵੇਖਦਿਆ ਪੁਲਸ ਨੇ ਗਰਮ-ਖਿਆਲੀਆਂ ਦੀ ਗ੍ਰਿਫਤਾਰੀ ਲਈ ਛਾਪਾਮਾਰੀ ਤੇਜ਼ ਕਰ ਦਿੱਤੀ ਹੈ। ਰੇਲ ਰੋਕੋ ਪ੍ਰੋਗਰਾਮ ਨੂੰ ਨੇਪਰੇ ਚਾੜਨ ਲਈ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਤੋਂ ਹੀ ਤੈਅ ਕੀਤੀ ਨੀਤੀ ਦੇ ਤਹਿਤ ਸੈਂਕੜੇ ਹੀ ਗਰਮ-ਦਲੀਏ ਅੰਡਰ-ਗਰਾਊਂਡ ਹੋ ਗਏ ਹਨ ਤਾਂ ਜੋ ਪ੍ਰੋਗਰਾਮ ਨੂੰ ਸਹੀ ਤਰੀਕੇ ਨਾਲ ਅਮਲੀ ਜਾਮਾ ਪਹਿਨਾਇਆ ਜਾ ਸਕੇ। ਅੱਜ ਬਾਅਦ ਦੁਪਿਹਰ ਪਟਿਆਲਾ ਪੁਲਸ ਨੇ ਸ਼੍ਰੋਮਣੀ ਅਕਾਲੀ ਦਲ ਦੇ ਜਨਰਲ ਸਕੱਤਰ ਪ੍ਰੋ. ਮਹਿੰਦਰਪਾਲ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੀ ਗ੍ਰਿਫਤਾਰੀ ਲਈ ਉਨ੍ਹਾ ਦੇ ਸਰਹੰਦ ਰੋਡ ਵਿਖੇ ਸਥਿਤ ਘਰ 'ਤੇ ਛਾਪਾਮਾਰੀ ਕੀਤੀ ਲੇਕਿਨ ਉਹ ਪੁਲਸ ਦੇ ਹੱਥ ਨਹੀਂ ਲੱਗੇ। ਇਸੇ ਤਰ੍ਹਾ ਹੀ ਪੁਲਸ ਨੇ ਸ਼ਹਿਰੀ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਹਰਭਜਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰੀ ਦੇ ਘਰ ਵੀ ਛਾਪਾਮਾਰੀ ਕੀਤੀ ਲੇਕਿਨ ਪੁਲਸ ਦੇ ਪਹੁੰਚਣ ਤੋਂ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰੀ ਰੂਪੋਸ਼ ਹੋ ਚੁੱਕੇ ਸਨ । ਫੋਨ 'ਤੇ ਹੋਈ ਗੱਲਬਾਤ ਦੌਰਾਨ ਪ੍ਰੋ. ਮਹਿੰਦਰਪਾਲ ਨੇ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਪੁਲਸ ਮਾਨ ਦਲ ਦੇ ਆਗੂਆਂ ਨੂੰ ਲੱਭ ਰਹੀ ਹੈ । ਉਨ੍ਹਾ ਕਿਹਾ ਕਿ ਇਸੇ ਦੌਰਾਨ ਹੀ ਸ਼ਹਿਰੀ ਮੀਤ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਚਰਨ ਸਿੰਘ ਸਂੋਢਾ ਪੁਲਸ ਦੇ ਹੱਥ ਲੱਗ ਗਿਆ, ਜਿਸਨੂੰ ਚੁੱਕ ਕੇ ਪੁਲਸ ਕਿਸੇ ਅਣਹੋਦੀ ਥਾਂ 'ਤੇ ਲੈ ਗਈ ।

ਇਸੇ ਤਰਾ ਹੀ ਸਮਾਣਾ ਪੁਲਸ ਨੇ ਮਾਨ ਦਲ ਦੇ ਐਗਜੈ਼ਕਟਿਵ ਮੈਂਬਰ ਗੁਰਨਾਮ ਸਿੰਘ ਨੂੰ ਗ੍ਰਿਫਤਾਰ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਉਸਦੇ ਘਰ ਛਾਪਾ ਮਾਰਿਆ, ਜਿਥੋਂ ਗੁਰਨਾਮ ਸਿੰਘ ਤਾਂ ਪੁਲਸ ਦੇ ਹੱਥ ਨਹੀਂ ਲੱਗਿਆ ਲੇਕਿਨ ਉਸਦੇ ਬਜ਼ੁਰਗ ਪਿਤਾ ਬਲੀ ਸਿੰਘ ਨੂੰ ਆਪਣੇ ਨਾਲ ਲੈ ਗਈ। ਪ੍ਰੋ.ਮਹਿੰਦਰਪਾਲ ਸਿੰਘ ਨੇ ਦੱਸਿਆ ਕਿ ਦੂਜੇ ਪਾਸੇ ਸਮਾਣਾ ਵਿੱਚ ਪਿਛਲੇ ਦਿਨੀਂ ਇਕ ਪ੍ਰੇਮੀ ਦੀ ਦੁਕਾਨ ਦੀ ਹੋਈ ਤੋੜ ਫੋੜ ਦੇ ਝੂਠੇ ਕੇਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੁਲਸ ਨੇ ਮਾਨ ਦਲ ਦੇ ਯੂਥ ਵਿੰਗ ਦੇ ਜਨਰਲ ਸਕੱਤਰ ਬਗੀਚਾ ਸਿੰਘ ਨੂੰ ਗ੍ਰਿਫਤਾਰ ਕਰ ਲਿਆ ਹੈ, ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ ਪੁਲਸ ਨੇ ਅੱਜ ਪਟਿਆਲਾ ਦੀ ਅਦਾਲਤ ਵਿੱਚ ਪੇਸ਼ ਕਰਕੇ ਜੇਲ ਭੇਜ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਹੈ। ਉਨ੍ਹਾ ਕਿਹਾ ਕਿ ਪਾਰਟੀ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਵਲੋਂ ਐਲਾਨੇ ਗਏ ਰੇਲ ਰੋਕੋ ਪ੍ਰੋਗਰਾਮ ਨੂੰ ਹਰ ਹੀਲੇ ਨੇਪਰੇ ਚਾੜ੍ਹਿਆ ਜਾਵੇਗਾ ਅਤੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਪ੍ਰੇਮੀ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਸ਼ ਸਿੰਘ ਬਾਦਲ ਦ ਹਰ ਧੱਕੇਸ਼ਾਹੀ ਦਾ ਮੂੰਹ ਤੋੜਵਾ ਜਵਾਬ ਦਿੱਤਾ ਜਾਵੇਗਾ।
-From Jag Bani News

25 June 2008

"Air India 182" - The CBC Docudrama

I was unable to watch this on Sunday night, as I had planned, but being prepared for that, I recorded it. This afternoon was my first opportunity to watch it uninterrupted.
So what do I think?
It was riveting, stunning, engrossing. And utterly convincing. I suffered with the families of the dead. I nearly cried, it was so sad. It was moving, deeply moving. In fact, it was the most beautifully put together propaganda piece I've seen since Gandhi, the Academy Award winner for "Best Picture" in, I believe 1982.

It is billed as a documentary, but this docudrama is much more drama than documentary. It presents one theory, that of the Canadian government and The Vancouver Sun very well. There was, however, no suggestion from beginning to end that this is one theory, unproven. If this were presented as a possibility, I would find it merely annoying. From beginning to end, however, it was presented as fact.

I think the most irritating moment to me came at the very end in words on the screen, seen but unspoken: 'Malik and Bagri were acquitted due to a lack of evidence.' How about just 'Malik and Bagri were acquitted.' How about just a hint that maybe, just maybe, a slight possibility, they were acquitted because they were not guilty? What an indictment of the Canadian justice system that these men portrayed as so obviously guilty got off scott-free.
I found the translation of our Fateh, 'Vaheguru ji ka khalsa! Vaheguru ji ki fateh' as 'God is forever victorious' to be not merely inaccurate, but bizarre. I had to listen to it three times to be sure that that is what they were 'translating.'
It was also painful seeing our strong, beautiful brothers portrayed as monsters, likable monsters, but monsters nonetheless. I was, of course, prepared for that, but it still hurts. I would like to see, just once, us Khalistanis portrayed as reasonable human beings instead of wild-eyed fanatics.

I love the note on the review of this movie on the Waheguroo Network's Khalsa TV Site:

Editor's Note: This documentary contains many innacuracies and misrepresentations. It is suggested that users take a more objective approach when viewing.

A note before I go. While I do not believe Sikh terrorists blew up that airplane, somebody clearly did. And I agree with what this movie has Inderjit Singh Reyat saying should be done to people who do such things, 'They should be shot.'

My deepest condolences to the families and friends of the dead. I know what it feels like to have our loved ones brutally and needlessly murdered. I pray that someday the true perpetrators of these crimes - in India and elsewhere - will be caught and punished - and the truth will then be told.

From the CBC Website: If you haven't seen this and would like to it will be repeated on Sunday June 29, 2008 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld. I was hoping they post put a video of the whole thing online, but evidentally, CBC wants you to buy it for $24.98. For a few brief clips, visit the link above.


I suppose I could go through this whole docuDRAMA point by point, but that would be tedious. Suffice to say, in substance it was pretty much what I expected, in style, well, it had style.

Pictures (from top):

Shaheed Talwinder Singh Parmar Babbar
Inderjit Singh Reyat
Ripudaman Singh Malik
Ajaib Singh Bagri

23 June 2008

Children, Teach Your Parents Well...

Teach your parents well.
Their children's hell
Will slowly go by.
And feed them on your dreams,
The ones the pick,
They ones you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why,
If they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh,
And know they love you.

How many Sikhs around the world realise how our children are suffering, being bullied in schools in the States, especially in New Jersey and New York.

One young man had his kesh forcefully cut by a classmate, another had his patka set on fire. Another student in New York City, Jagmohan Singh Premi was feloniously assaulted by a younger classmate, who seriously injured his face and tried to pull off his patka. (Off-topic and impertinent: Why is an 18 year old young man, an adult, still wearing a patka?)

Now this young lady - and by her conduct she is a lady - has had her hair cut, unknown to her, while she innocently sat at her desk in school. Her brother has also been teased and mistreated at school. I salute these two especially, Gurprit Kaur and Talwinder Singh, as they have courageously come forward publicly with their names and photographs. They are setting a wonderful example for the rest of us to follow. When these incidents happen, we need to stand up proudly and proclaim 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to takes this any more!' And we need to stand together!

I am very glad that Gurprit Kaur Ji got her cut hairs back. She can treat them with the respect that they deserve. When my mother, in her insanity, cut my hairs when I was seven, every hair was preserved in a beautiful rosewood box, where it remains to this day, to be cremated with me eventually.

I can recall only one person who ever seriously harassed me, Billy the Bully. When none of the adults would handle the situation, I broke his arm. He never bothered me again. Of course, having seven older brothers helped, too. Nobody wanted to mess with The Magnificent Seven! Note: I do not recommend violence, but as Sikhs, we know that sometimes, when we have exhausted every other means, it may become necessary.

If you live or can get to the New York area for this march to support our children, please try to go!

Here is the story from the Sikh Coalition:

New York, New York) June 21, 2008 - The Sikh Coalition is dismayed to report that a twelve-year-old Sikh girl's hair was maliciously cut by another student. On June 9, Gurprit Kaur, a student at Public School 219 in Flushing, Queens, discovered that another student had cut off a portion of her braided hair and discarded it.

The attack on Gurprit occurred only five days after Jagmohan Singh Premi, was punched in the face when a student intentionally attempted to remove his patka (smaller turban) at Richmond Hill High School, in Richmond Hill, Queens. It also occured a just a year after Harpal Singh;s hair was forcibly cut by another student in a city school.

Sikh children simply continue to suffer in New York City. This past April, the Sikh Coalition released a civil rights report that found that more than 60% of the over 400 New York City Sikh public school students the Coalition surveyed suffered bias-based harassment or violence in city schools.

The Assault
On Monday, June 9, 2008 at approximately 11:00 am while in English class, Gurprit's classmate told her that a portion of her braided hair had been cut off. Gurprit did not notice while her hair was being cut behind her back. Given the deep spiritual significance of her hair, Gurprit was extremely upset. She immediately conveyed her dismay to teachers.

Gurprit's school conducted an investigation and within hours advised her that a classmate (a juvenile who shall remain nameless) had admitted to cutting her hair during a class they share together and where they sit next to each other. The school returned Gurprit's hair to her wadded in a tissue. The perpetrator was suspended the same day.

Sister and Brother Suffer Silently for Years
Sadly, the perpetrator specifically harassed Gurprit because of her and her brother, Talwinder because of their Sikh faith. The perpetrator made fun of Talwinder's jurdha and patka (smaller turban), saying "Your brother has a ball on his head. I am going to rip it off and throw it at him."

Once when Gurprit came to school with her hair in a bun, the perpetrator said, "Now you have a bun on your head just like your brother." The perpetrator also referred to Talwinder derisively as a "Hindu" in front of Gurprit.

The perpetrator knew that cutting hair was against Gurprit's religion. Several months ago, the perpetrator specifically asked Gurprit why she did not cut her hair. Gurprit responded because her religion does not allow it.

Gurprit's brother Talwinder, a sixth grade student, is routinely subject to ridicule because of his Sikh articles of faith. Other sixth-graders call him "potatohead" and "turbanator." Students would say that Talwinder has a bomb on his head, and to get away from him because he is going to blow everyone up.

The harassment Talwinder has suffered this year is nothing new. When Talwinder was in the fifth grade, a student tried to touch and remove his patka. When he was in the fourth grade, the school suspended a student for harassing Talwinder about his turban and hair.

When asked by the Coalition's staff whether he liked school, Talwinder responded, "I like school, but not the kids."

Enough is Enough: Sikhs of New York City to March for Sikh Children on June 30th
The Sikh Coalition along with Gurprit Kaur and Jagmohan Singh Premi's parents are organizing a march through the streets of Richmond Hill, Queens on Monday, June 30th. The march will end with a rally at Richmond Hill High School, the school where Jagmohan Singh Premi suffered a bias-based assault this month.

The purpose of the march is to push the New York Department of Education to end bias-based harassment of Sikh children in city schools. It is about time that the Department recognize that Sikh children in particular are vulnerable to bias-based harassment and violence in school. The Sikh Coalition calls on all Sikhs to march with us on Monday, June 30th or sign the community petition to Schools Chancellor Joel Klein asking him to take action to protect Sikh children from bias-based harassment in city school.

Coalition Action and Department's Response
Sikh Coalition staff was on site at Gurprit Kaur's home and at her school within 24 hours of receiving a call from her father requesting assistance. School officials have since met with the Coalition to discuss diversity educational programs to be implemented at the beginning of the new school year in the Fall. The Department has not been clear on whether these programs will include specific education for teachers and students on Sikhs and Sikh concerns in school. The Coalition calls on the Department to implement a more Sikh-specific program since Sikh children are uniquely vulnerable to bias-based harassment.

In addition, the Sikh Coalition has formally requested that the Department share with the Coalition the Department's planned Chancellor's Regulation on addressing bias-based incident in city schools. The Department has agreed to meet with the Coalition before any such regulation is made public or implemented so that the Sikh Coalition can have input on its implementation Coalition a draft

As always, the Coalition continues encourages all Sikhs to fearlessly practice their faith and stand up for their rights. We ask that you sign our petition and attend our March for Sikh children.



21 June 2008

How To Handle Racism

This came in today to the the Gurmat Learning Zone (GLZ). Oh, how I hope it's a true story!

What small steps are taken to achieve freedom for us all.

This scene took place on a British Airways flight between
Johannesburg, South Africa & London.

A white woman, about 50 years old, was seated next to a
black man.

Very disturbed by this, she called the air hostess.
obviously do not see it then?' she asked. 'You
placed me next to a
black man.
I did not agree to sit next to someone from such a
group. Give me an alternative seat.'
'Be calm please,' the hostess replied.
'Almost all the places on this flight are taken. I will
go to
see if another place is available.'

The hostess went away & then came back a few minutes
'Madam,just as I thought, there are no other available
seats in Economy
I spoke to the captain & he informed me that there is
no seat in Business Class. All the same, we still have one
place in
First Class.'

Before the woman could say anything, the hostess continued.

'It is not usual for our company to permit someone from
Class to sit in First Class. However, given the
circumstances, the
captain feels that it would be scandalous to make someone
sit next to someone so disgusting.'

She turned to the black guy, & said, 'Therefore,
Sir, if
you would like to, please collect your hand luggage, a seat
you in First Class.'

At that moment, the other passengers, who'd been
shocked by
what they had just witnessed, stood up & applauded.

This is a true story. If you are against racism, please
send this to all your friends; please do not delete it
sending it to at least 1 person.

WELL DONE, British Airways


20 June 2008

New Sikhtoons

Last week, I neglected to update the Sikhtoon in the right-hand column. When I visited that site today, I found three must see Sikhtoons. So I am putting them into a post here. I also found that Vishavjit Singh, the author of Sikhtoons, has gathered together the Sikhtoons about the Teeja Ghalugharah (Third Sikh Holocaust) into one list. I suggest you go take a look.

If ever the meaning of a particular Sikhtoon is unclear to you or you'd like more information on the issues raised, go to the Sikhtoons homepage, click on the Sikhtoon you are interested in and magically links will appear about that particular 'toon. Our brother Vishavjit Singh Ji really does his homework on each and every drawing.

It occurs to me that all of us enjoy Sikhtoons, but I wonder how many have read the articles about the author. For those of you who haven't, here is an article from one of our major local papers, The Seattle Times:

Cartoonist draws on Sikh frustrations, aspirations
By Sanjay Bhatt

Seattle Times staff reporter

The cartoons of the Olympic snowboarder, New York City policeman or baseball player wouldn't get a second glance, except for the turbans.

The artist behind the cartoons, Vishavjit Singh, says there's a dearth of positive media images of Sikhs (pronounced "siks"), who wear turbans as an article of the Sikh faith, the world's fifth-largest religion. Singh makes a living as a software developer in White Plains, N.Y., but lives to make political cartoons that capture the frustration, heartache and aspirations of Sikhs in the United States and abroad.

About 20,000 Sikhs reside in the Seattle area today, and their presence here dates to the late 1800s, when railroads and lumber mills needed laborers.

Saturday, local Sikh families heard from Singh at Seattle's Theatre Off Jackson, which includes his cartoons in a special exhibit, "The Sikh Community: Over 100 Years in the Pacific Northwest," which runs through April 16. His cartoons can also be viewed online at www.sikhtoons.com.

"You will see a lot of things you don't like in this world, and it's OK to voice your opinion," said Singh, 34. "But if you really want to make a difference, you've got to create things yourself," such as cartoons, films and photographs.

In his cartoons, Singh's most frequent subject is the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in India. That June, Indian security forces killed thousands of religious pilgrims at Sikhism's holiest shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, during a siege on Sikh separatists taking refuge there.

Then on Oct. 31 of that year, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards. Over several days, thousands of Sikhs in Delhi were stabbed, clubbed and burned by mobs orchestrated by leaders from Gandhi's political party, according to Human Rights Watch, a New York-based organization. Few of those responsible for those killings have been brought to justice, Human Rights Watch says.

The subject is deeply personal for Singh because he was living in New Delhi when anti-Sikh riots began there. A mob came to kill his family, Singh says, and he credits their survival to the goodwill of Hindu neighbors who talked the mob into leaving.

"It was our 9/11," Singh says.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, there was a dramatic rise in assaults on Sikhs living in this country by people who confused them with Muslims, some of whom also wear turbans.

Despite having received death threats, Singh continues to satirize India's police and politicians for their failure to bring the perpetrators of the 1984 killings to justice.

But he also skewers the Sikh community for what he says is its hypocrisy about the caste system and women's equality.

Under the caste system, an ancient Hindu tradition that Sikhism rejects, men and women were assigned to one of roughly four social classes based on the family into which they were born. The caste system has been likened to Southern slavery because those at the bottom were condemned to live as sweepers and servants, forced to pray and eat in separate quarters and prohibited from marrying into the upper castes.

Many Sikhs today still choose where they worship and whom they marry based on caste, Singh said. "We live it every day, and yet we go out and tell people we don't believe in the caste system," he said.

And although Sikhism professes that everyone has equal status before God, Singh says that the killing of female Sikh babies still occurs in the northern Indian state of Punjab.

Harmanas Chopr, an aspiring journalist in Olympia who was in Saturday's audience, said he was glad Singh didn't dwell on how to draw a cartoon but focused on the cartoon's inspiration.

"Without that you can't make any great cartoons," he said.

Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or sbhatt@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

17 June 2008

Update On Sarika Singh

Here is an update about the teenaged Sikh girl in Wales, Sarita Singh, who got kicked out of school for wearing her kara. I have reproduced the comments on this article to show how far we still have to go to win the respect and understanding of the people of the United Kingdom, and, I guess, Cyprus.

From The Times On Line:

Sikh girl goes to court over bangle

The court heard that the steel bangle worn by Sikhs, including cricketer Panesar, was a symbol of faith, not a piece of jewellery, and the school had breached Sarika Watkins-Singh's human rights by banning her from wearing it.

The 14-year-old is appealing against the decision by Aberdare Girls' School in South Wales to refuse to exempt her from the strict uniform policy, which bans the wearing of religious symbols.

When Sarika would not remove the bangle, known as a Kara, she was taught "in educational and social segregation during school hours" for some months before being excluded for a day, then for five days and finally indefinitely, said her lawyer Helen Mountfield.

The judge, Mr Justice Silber, must decide whether the school's policy amounted to unlawful discrimination under the 1976 Race Relations Act, the freedom of religion provisions of the 2006 Equality Act and the 1998 Human Rights Act.

Ms Mountfield showed the judge a picture of Panesar wearing the bangle when he asked to see what a Kara was.She told him the Kara was one of the five Ks of Sikhism, and worn by more Sikhs than the turban, which is not one of the Ks.

She cited a House of Lords decision 25 years ago, which had never been questioned, that a Sikh boy was subjected to indirect race discrimination when he was told he could only attend a school if he cut his hair and ceased wearing a turban.

She said: "There is no string of authority to say that school uniform rules may trump religious dress codes".

Mr Justice Silber commented that the only issue of fact in the case seemed to be whether Sarika was actually obliged by her religion to wear the Kara.

In February, Sarika began at Mountain Ash Comprehensive School, where she can wear the Kara, pending the outcome of her court challenge.

Her mother, Sinita, 38, has said that, although Mountain Ash is a good school, her daughter's education suffered as a result of the move and the stress involved in the run-up to her GCSEs. The family presented a petition to 10 Downing Street seeking support for the case and backed by 150 Gurdwaras - the main Sikh religious institutions - and over 200 Sikh organisations and 70 non-Sikh organisations. 100 MPs have also offered their support.

The hearing is expected to last three days.

Her parents knew the rules. Why do they think that the whole world should bow to their beliefs? Why not just stick to the rules, go to school, come home and wear whatever you want in your own time?
dave, london,

Why has this gone to court? The school doesn't discriminate on it treats all pupils equally no one is allowed religious items. If they try it on human rights grounds of denying an education, all the act says is the have to have an education not that it has to be at a specific school.

Stephen, St. Ives, England

The issue here is whether she is required to wear it by her religion.
A cross is not a requirement of Christianity but I understand that the bangle is. It's my guess that she will win her case in this instance. Really it is a scandal that proper guidelines haven't been issued by the government yet

andre , St Albans, UK

They had better not allow the bangle as a Christian woman was not allowed to wear her cross at work. All religious symbols need to stay out of schools if that is the schools rule. Otherwise one is holier than another or belongs to a different gang.She needs to obey the rules. She is a child.

Abigail, Torquay, UK

I am atheist, does that mean if i were at school i could simply invent some 'dress code' of my own religion? At what point does a religion become recognized to the extent you can flout generally accepted rules? As i believe all religion is akin to believing in fairy's I find this offensive!!!

Matthew, Bristol,

Here we go Human rights again. If this girl wants to wear her bangle at school, fine, then find a school that will accept it. How can she be allowed to waste so much money from legal aid for something that has absolutely nothing to do with the everyday British citizen.

This is all down to Blair.

John Moore, Paphos, Cyprus